Barnoldswick woman’s Indian charity help

HELPING HAND: Janet Melville (centre) volunteering in the operating theatre at Anandwan.
HELPING HAND: Janet Melville (centre) volunteering in the operating theatre at Anandwan.

A BARNOLDSWICK woman who has embarked on an international adventure took time out to help at a leprosy hospital in India.

Janet Melville (29), a former pupil at West Craven High Technology College, has given up her job as a geo-technical engineer to travel the world.

After hearing about the charity Hands For Life through a university friend, globe trotter Janet had always wanted to help them and found the perfect opportunity as part of her latest trip. The Cheshire-based charity brings together medical staff and helpers to offer free medical work once a year at the hospital in central India.

Janet spent a week helping volunteer surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses to operate on patients suffering with deformities caused by leprosy.

The hospital itself is part of a community of marginalised leprosy patients and people with disabilities. Maharogi Sewa Samiti, the organisations that runs it, works to give people a chance to regain self-respect and not only offers medical treatment and rehabilitation, but provides vocational education and work.

Janet said: “The trip was a very new experience for me as I have never been to India before or done any kind of medical work. We worked for a week wearing hospital theatre blues for about 10 hours a day, assisting the scrub nurse, surgeons and patients as best we were able with a whole range of tasks; we had to learn on our feet. It was an extremely rewarding experience, seeing patients receive the most needed care and sometimes life changing treatment, that without the team would have been unthinkable for them. The charity is always short of funds as you can imagine and the team has to take lots of supplies with them, with some funding themselves.”

Janet’s parents Ted and Rosemary, who live in Chapel Street, said they are very proud of her charity efforts.

Rosemary said: “She gets her wanderlust from both me and her dad and always jokes that she got a double whammy. At the moment she is in Thailand but she is hoping to return to India later in the year to do some more work with them.”

To make a donation to Hands For Life, write to 33 Alton Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5DY.